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U.S. preventable deaths high, healthy life expectancy low in new report

June 17, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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The United States ranks last among 11 industrialized countries when it comes to deaths that are potentially preventable with timely access to effective healthcare, and it ranks second-to-last on healthy life expectancy at age 60, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

The United States also ranks last overall among measures of health system quality, efficiency, access to care and equity, according to Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, 2014 Update, written by Karen Davis of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kristof Stremikis of the Pacific Business Group on Health, and Cathy Schoen and David Squires of the Commonwealth Fund.

The United States stands out among the other countries included in the study—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom—for having the highest costs and lowest performance. The United States spent $8,508 per person on healthcare in 2011. This amount compares with $3,406 spent in the United Kingdom, which ranked first overall.

The report was also produced in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010, with the United States ranking last in each of those years (although four countries were added to this year’s report: Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and France).

Other findings related to the United States:

  • Healthcare quality: The United States ranks in the middle. On two of four measures of quality—effective care and patient-centered care—the United States ranks near the top (third and fourth of 11 countries, respectively), but it does not perform as well providing safe or coordinated care.
  • Efficiency: The United States ranks last, due to low marks on the time and dollars spent dealing with insurance administration, lack of communication among healthcare providers and duplicative medical testing.
  • Equity: The United States ranks last.

For more details and information on data included in the study, click on the link in the second paragraph.

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